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Natasha Jonas on journey from traumatic labour to two-weight world champion

Speaking on the Sky Sports Real Talk podcast, Natasha Jonas describes how she was treated differently when she returned to boxing after the birth of her daughter; Jonas' labour lasted three days when giving birth to her daughter

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Speaking on the Sky Sports Real Talk podcast, Natasha Jonas describes how she was treated differently when she returned to boxing after the birth of her daughter

Natasha Jonas has opened up on the traumatic birth of her daughter and how having a child made her stronger on her return to boxing.

Jonas decided that the time was right to have a child after suffering an injury that kept her out of the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifiers, but reveals she "initially said goodbye to boxing" after admitting she believed the choice to give birth would mean retirement.

"I think the reason for the pregnancy was because I'd made my mind up to retire, and that was the hardest decision I had to make because there was no professional scene at the time, so I was effectively saying goodbye to boxing," she said.

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"I felt overwhelmed, I felt scared, I felt happy, I felt sad, and I went through a whole mix of emotions. And I used to do bits of training after she was born.

"I'll always train because that's just a part of who I am and what I've done my whole life. But I was never training like an athlete. I was just training to half keep fit or get back to some form of shape.

"She kind of filled the void that boxing left," Jonas continued. "So when then she was in her routine and going to school and going to nursery, there was a void again. And I was thinking, well, how do I fill it now? And then the opportunity came to go pro, and I came back."

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Jonas opens up on 'horrendous' labour

Prior to working her way back into the boxing ring, Jonas had to recover from what was a difficult birth when she had her daughter Mila.

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Despite having a problem-free pregnancy, Jonas went into labour a month early and suffered a traumatic birth in which her daughter had to be manually turned around before she ended up having a C section.

"I had the most boring pregnancy in the sense of it was just like nothing. I had a bit of morning sickness, not really that much. It lasted about a week. It was just uneventful. The whole pregnancy was like nothing, really," Jonas said. "I was a month early so I go in. They say, yeah, the waters are broke. She hasn't even turned round.

"[They said: 'We're going to give you a C section.' I was like, no, I want to try and have her naturally.

"I don't know. It was lunacy. So they turned her around, manually turned around.

"They feel where the head is. Grab the bum and spin around.

"No one ever talks about it. I think it's happened to Kim Kardashian. Someone's told me that since I've told them this story," she continued. "[It was] horrendous.

"Some people just can't take the pain because it's painful. So they spun [her] around anyway.

"The athlete in me, the boxer in me was just like, don't let them see you cry. Don't let them see you cry.

"That particular moment, I'd lost it. I just lost it."

Being a mum 'helps give the separation' from the gym

After recovering from such a difficult labour, Jonas then started to work towards her return to boxing and actually believes she is now stronger in the ring, especially mentally, after having her daughter.

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Indeed, she believes that being a mother has brought her a new perspective that allows her to separate her home life from her work life.

"I've actually gotten stronger since having a baby. I don't know if that's necessarily down to being pregnant, but it just changes you physically," she said.

"But I think the biggest thing for me was mental. Because when I was an athlete competing, everything was driven towards the result.

"That's all that mattered. I didn't have any other distractions other than the result.

"But now, as a mum, as soon as I open the door to the house, she doesn't care how [it] went.

"She's not bothered that I couldn't get the time on the track or whatever. It's just about being mum today.

"So I think now I have that switch off mentally, which is I find better. Because I know when I'm in the gym what I've got to do and I know all that and the results do matter and it's still hard work.

"When I walk out this door, the gym gets left in here and I go out and I've got to go and be mum. And I think that helps and gives that separation."

Although Jonas came back stronger, it was a tough road for the two-weight world champion to try and get back in the shape she was in before her pregnancy.

"I never knew if I could get back to where I was, especially weight-wise as well, because I gained a lot of weight in pregnancy and boxing [is a] weight maintained sport. Stepping on the scales for the first time and thinking, that's a big bit over what I used to be. [I was] thinking: 'How am I going to get back?'

"I wasn't in terrible shape, but it wasn't the shape I was before," she added. "The first bit was just about getting my weight down. The first, I think, six months I was here was just about getting your body into a rhythm of competing again and training again in such a high intensity."

How can boxing improve for pregnant athletes?

Image: The Merseysider has won world titles in two divisions

Having now gone through the process of being a pregnant athlete and returning to the ring following the birth, Jonas believes that there should be people involved in making decisions for those in the sport who have lived through the situations they are legislating.

"Sometimes I think there's a lot of people making decisions for other people that have never been in their shoes," she added.

"I personally don't believe I could make decisions for a para-athlete because I don't know what it's like to be in their shoes, to face the problems and the barriers that they have, I've never experienced. I've got my own barriers for our sport and whatever, but it's not theirs.

"So for me to try and make decisions for them, I don't think I can do so.

"There's pregnancy, there's menopause, there's loads of women's issues that we have. And I don't want sympathy," she continued.

"I want there to be an understanding of maybe, okay, I'm not going to be in full training like someone who's going to the Olympics or whatever, but there's still things I can do to keep me on that pathway for when I return, because it was simply, you can't compete, you can't box."

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